Tape in sight for trio

Ultimate prize. The trophy will lifted by either one of SC Villa, Vipers or KCCA to crown the 2022/23 league season. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Villa lead the standings on 52 points, two clear of reigning champions Vipers and KCCA.

One of SC Villa, Vipers and KCCA will be crowned StarTimes Uganda Premier League champions on Saturday.

Record league champions hold all aces. Their task is simple – beat URA at Wankulukuku and win a first league title in 19 years.

Villa lead the standings on 52 points, two clear of reigning champions Vipers and KCCA.

Any slip-up, even a draw will be punished severely by one of the two dominant teams of the past 10 years.

Vipers and KCCA, both of whom boast a far superior goal difference, have won all but one of the last 10 league titles.

If Villa were to fail to win, victories against Busoga United and Solitilo Bright Stars at Kitende and Lugogo respectively will see the proverbial elephant fall hard.

None of the three sides can claim to have a significant psychological advantage over the rest considering how they have been falling over each other over the past month.

In fact, having not been in this situation for a large part of two decades and never fancied at the start of the season, Villa might need a crash lesson in handling pressure. 

Horrendous record

Villa last beat URA in 2018, a 3-0 result. The Tax Collectors have won four of the last nine clashes. In all, Villa have emerged victorious on four occasions of the previous 21 meetings.

"It has been down to the self-belief of the players,” Villa coach Jackson Magera told Score.

“It is the confidence and consistency that have brought us where we are and we remain fully focussed on the next match.”

Never heralded as a player and largely a periphery coach in youth teams, this is Magera’s biggest moment.

While Charles Bbaale’s league-leading 12 goals have been critical, the return of Omar Mandela to the club presidency last year has been the trump card.

It’s that same card that Vipers found in the mid-season when they fired Brazilian Beto Bianchi and replaced him with Alex Isabirye from Bul.

Under the latter, their league title charge was resuscitated. They could also still win the Stanbic Uganda Cup next month.  

While they have squandered their games-in-hand on Villa as seen in Tuesday’s 1-all draw at Bul, they are pushing for a first successful title defence.

A multitude of injuries has not helped their cause but Milton Karisa’s nine goals have been worth a lot.

Isabirye has also found a diamond in young defender Rogers Torach. Before scrolling the phone to follow proceedings, they must win their game.


That mirrors KCCA whose underwhelming season saw Jackson Mayanja replace Morley Byekwaso in the dugout with the season heading for a sprint.

Mayanja, one of the true KCCA and Uganda Cranes legends, has not exactly had a slaloming finish.

Following a 1-0 loss at Vipers, he was banned for utterances deemed to have brought the game into disrepute.

However, being in a title race is the minimum of what you expect of KCCA in the recent past. That’s the gold standard.

With one win in the last five games, KCCA are the team out of form heading to the finish line.

Their biggest undoing has been the inability to score as seen in this week’s goalless draw at Busoga United that ensured the Jinja team’s safety.

Rogers Mato and Allan Okello, on loan from Algeria’s Paradou, lead them with seven and six correspondingly.   

StarTimes Uganda Premier League

Saturday – 3pm

Arua Hill vs. Wakiso Giants, Arua

Blacks Power vs. Express, Lira

KCCA vs. Bright Stars, Lugogo

Maroons vs. Bul, Luzira

UPDF vs. Onduparaka, Bombo

SC Villa vs. URA, Wankulukuku

Vipers vs. Busoga, Kitende